January 13, 2020
The parc du Ray inaugurated
There was emotion, a hint of nostalgia and the feeling of a new leaf being turned over as football returned to Nice-Nord on Monday with the inauguration of the Parc du Ray.
Same place, new decor, different era. Representatives of the state, the region, the city and the club mixed with former players and supporters young and old at a legendary venue to witness the opening of the Parc du Ray: a three-hectare green space 'open to the city' boasting brand-new sports infrastructures where the Léo-Lagrange used to proudly stand. "Le Ray was an emblematic place for all Niçois," explained Christian Estrosi, who inaugurated the park with former president Nicolas Sarkozy (2007-2012). "After the consultation period during which nearly 2000 contributions were made by residents and those working in the area, I took care that — in line with your wishes — the sporting identity of the site was preserved."
Alongside President Rivère, Gautier Lloris and Andy Pelmard, who both came through at Entente Saint-Sylvestre-Nice-Nord before joining the club, were there to see the keys to the site handed over to the club where they first kicked a ball.
Around the remains of a former stand — a vestige of the not so distant past — and a waterfall that embellishes the park, football will continue to have an important role in a place that sang and danced to its tune for 86 years.
The club's U17 team, coached by Emerse Faé, Didier Digard, Manu Pires and Cédric Varrault, trained in the park on Monday afternoon.